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CHAPTER XVI

IT was twilight when Mr, Munn, standing in the side yard,
where the woodpile and chopping-block were, happened to
lift his head and see the buggy coming up the lane by the
creek. Without haste, he propped the axe against the chop-
ping block, and bent over to pick up an armful of stove-
lengths from the bed of old chips and rotting bark. Then
he went to the kitchen,

Adelle Proudfit was still there, drying dishes. The lighted
lamp was on the table by the stacked dishes. Mr, Munn
leaned, and let the wood slide off of his arm into the box with
a subdued thudding. Then he turned to her. "There's
somebody coming up the road/'he said, "in a buggy. They're
probably pulling up now."

She looked at him, as though about to speak, but he con-
tinued : " I'm just going to step out back. It's probably some-
body to see Willie, but I'll just get out back till they're gone,
I'll be in easy calling."

He moved rapidly from the house toward the fringe of
undergrowth at the base of the bluff. He was looking back
at the lane, but nothing now was visible there. The buggy
was probably standing at the gate, hidden by the bulk of the
house. He did not go up the bluff, but stopped in the first
depth of shadow. He sat on the ground, his back propped
against the trunk of a cedar. The earth, matted with the
long accumulation of fallen needles, was resilient beneath
him. He fixed his eyes upon the house, and waited.

The light was fast draining out of the sky, now, and the
darkening bulk of the house, against the darkness of the rise
at the other side of the creek, was losing its definition. But
the windows showed their rectangles of yellow light against
that general obscurity. At last, he thought that he could
make out the crunching of wheels over gravel, the sound of
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